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Carter walks off with A’s equalizing victory

Jimmy Durkin, still in for Joe Stiglich, and still waiting for Chris Carter’s home run to land
The A’s hit a somewhat significant milestone when Chris Carter’s ball soared into the Oakland night. His blast — which A’s manager Bob Melvin isn’t sure has landed yet — gave the A’s a 4-1 win over the Seattle Mariners and moved the A’s to .500 for the first time since May 22.
To Melvin and the players, it’s significant, but nothing to make a huge deal out of. No team strives to play .500 baseball. But .500 ball is sure better than the other option.
“It’s always nice to get back to .500,” Melvin said. “It’s nice to be over .500, so that’s the goal now.”
Of course the .500 record is part of the story, but Chris Carter is the big story. He absolutely obliterated his 0-1 pitch from Steve Delabar.
Truth be told, I didn’t watch it land. It was so much a no-doubter that by the time it was halfway out I was already buried in my laptop re-writing my story to send it in.
Carter, who tends to be a man of few words, was all smiles after the game.
“It’s way better than what I expected,” Carter said of his first walk-off hit. “Having all the fans just stand up cheering, clapping for you. It’s more than you could ever dream about.”
Carter is in a first-base platoon with Brandon Moss. Moss will start against right-handers, which you tend to face more of. Carter will start against lefties. He was brought in the game because lefty Oliver Perez was in. When Melvin made the move for Carter, Mariners manager Eric Wedge countered with the righty Delabar.
“I had an idea it would be Delabar,” Melvin said. “Delabar’s been getting lefties out a lot better than righties. I was going to make the move. A lot of times you just do it to have the other side make a move, but Mossy could’ve just as easily done it. I just felt like, at the time, make a move there.”
Carter’s heroics aren’t likely to change the fact that Moss will start against right-handers. But it sure was a good statement to show that he can deliver in the clutch.
The win was the A’s seventh walk-off win of the year, four more than their total from last year. They are now 5-2 in extra inning games and matched their season-high with their fifth straight win.
Tommy Milone recorded a career-high nine strikeouts. His previous best was six. His effort also marked the seventh straight game in which an A’s starting pitcher has allowed one earned run or fewer, an Oakland-era record. The last time the A’s did that for eight straight games was in 1966 when they were the Kansas City A’s.
Norberto’s win was the first of his major league career and he earned it. He struck out the side in dominating fashion in the top of the 11th, going through Seattle’s 3-4-5 hitters. Granted, the M’s heart of the order won’t strike much of a fear into opponents, but it was impressive nonetheless.

Joe Stiglich